30th nov, 2009

The window for Open source companies have closed

In a really interesting article in International Herald Tribune there is an analysis of strategies for open source companies. 


The article describes how the successful open source companies (MySQL, SpringSource, XenSource) are taken over by companies developing proprietary software. The Sun/Oracle deal has an open source edge to it since the European Commission is worried that MySQL will stop developing in the future. 


The trend where OSS companies are getting eaten by larger companies are due to the fact that they are “one trick ponies” – they only do one thing. In the larger context that´s not a viable business model but makes the company attractive to its bigger brothers as an easy way in to a niche. 


Peter Fenton is quoted in the article for saying that the window for a large OSS player has closed and ends with the remark that “That opportunity has gone away. And it’s hard to put Humpty Dumpty back together again now.” 


Her er et begavet perspektiv på sagen:


The difficulty that I have with much of the debate on the subject of open source economics is that it asks the wrong question: are open source and business concerns mutually exclusive, as the headline on Vance’s piece implies? This is the wrong question, in my opinion, because the evidence that open source as a model for business is anything but elusive is overwhelming.

If you want to explore whether open source is a reasonable foundation for a big business, on the other hand, that’s a better question. Still not the one I would ask, but better.

Leave a response

Your response: